Japanese Street Fashion

During the middle of the 19th century, Japan began to emulate western fashion. By the beginning of the 21st century, it formed street fashion, a fashion style in which the wearer customizes outfits by adopting a mixture of current and traditional trends. At present, there are many styles of dress in Japan, created from a mix of both local and foreign labels. Some examples of popular styles are: Lolita, Gyura and Decora fashion. Lolita is a fashion subculture originating in Japan that is based on Victorian-era clothing. It is usually consisted of knee length skirt or dress with a “cupcake” shape assisted by petticoats.

Lolita fashion has evolved into many different sub styles that are present in many parts of the world. The most popular sub categories are: gothic Lolita, sweet Lolita and the punk Lolita. Lolita has popularized by the more feminine visual kei or “visual style” artists. Visual kei is a fashion among Japanese musicians, who are usually male, featuring make-up, elaborate hair styles and flamboyant costumes Gyaru fashion is a type of Japanese street fashion that was popular in the 1990s, but shortly died out in the early 2000s.

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It is often portrayed as a sign of youth rebellion as it is the opposite of the traditional idea of beauty in Japan. Gyaru fashion is typically characterized by heavily bleached or dyed hair, highly decorated nails, and dramatic makeup. Popular sub categories include: Ganguro, Hime gyaru and Ane gyaru. The Decora style originated in the late 90s and rose to great popularity both in and outside Japan. The clothes are usually in black, dark pink or baby pink and neon.

A plain shirt and hoodie are often worn with short tutu-like skirts. The most important part of the style is to pile on many layers of cute accessories until the clothes worn underneath are barely visible. Leg and arm warmers, knee socks, and many accessories such as necklaces, bracelets, rings, lights, children’s toys, mittens, face masks and sunglasses are worn atop each other in different layers. The style is worn to give the youthful and innocent image.

Author: Estelle Massey


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